Kings Under Review: Kings Face the Wrath of the Thunder's Big Three

Four games in six nights has the Sacramento Kings on their heels and the injury bug has come at the wrong time.

The Kings got out to a strong start Wednesday evening against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but without Bogdan Bogdanovic, Iman Shumpert and Marvin Bagley III, things got out of control quickly.

OKC's big three of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Steven Adams put on a show and the shorthanded Kings had no answer.

Sacramento currently stands at 16-15 on the season. Here are a few positives and negatives from the last two games:


Career High

You could see it coming. It was only a matter of time before Buddy Hield had a true breakout game. The third-year guard had capped out at 28 points this season, hitting the mark twice. That's two points below his career-high of 30, which he set as a rookie.

Despite averaging nearly 20 points per game, there appeared to be an invisible wall holding back the Kings' leading scorer. He broke through that wall against OKC.

Hield hit the Thunder for 37 points on 11-of-25 from the field and 7-of-14 from long range. The seven makes from behind the 3-point line tied a career-best as well.

This marked the fifth straight game Hield scored 20 points or more. He has accomplished the feat 17 times in 31 games this season after hitting the mark just 13 times in 80 contest during his sophomore campaign.



Sacramento ranks 21st in the NBA in rebounds per game and 27th in rebounds allowed. They nearly matched their season average of 44 boards against OKC, coming away with 43 on night. But that doesn't tell even part of the story.

Adams killed the Kings on the glass, grabbing 23 rebounds in 34 minutes of action. He wasn't the only Thunder player to have a big night crashing the boards. George gabbed 12 rebounds and Westbrook added 11 as OKC punished Sacramento to the tune of a 66-43 rebound advantage.

Adams' big night matched the rebound total that DeAndre Jordan posted on the Kings in Saturday's win over the Mavericks. He grabbed nine offensive boards, including a couple off of missed free throws from his teammates.

The Kings play at a crazy pace and try to get out and run as much as possible, but at some point, someone has to grab the rebound first.

Willie Cauley-Stein attempted to address the issue following the game, but that seems to have just added more questions.



De'Aaron Fox claims he is the fastest player in the NBA. Russell Westbrook disagrees.

The two point guards went at it Wednesday evening. Westbrook came away with his standard triple-double. Fox responded with a big double-double.

The final score gives Westbrook bragging rights, but Fox is proving that he is ready to be a star in the league.

Westbrook finished the night with 19 points, 17 assists, 11 rebounds and six steals. Fox dropped in 28 points, 12 assists, two steals and two blocks.

It's going to be a lot of fun to watch these two going at it over the next few years.


Big Forwards

George is a big small forward or maybe a smaller power forward. Either way, he is strong and the Kings have no answer.

The five-time All-Star destroyed anyone and everyone the Kings put in his path, finishing with 43 points on 15-of-27 shooting. He added 12 rebounds and a seven assists and ran a game-high +29 in the plus/minus category.

Shumpert did a nice job of slowing the veteran forward in the first two matchups between these two teams, but with with him sitting out with a bruised hip, George got loose.

The Kings need to address their lack of size at the wing either through trade or next summer in free agency. You can't fault a guy like Justin Jackson who came in with a huge disadvantage in both weight and experience.

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